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For the past ten years I have ridden in a flat area of the country. I found that it was very easy to go out and ride 50-100 miles with very little effort providing the wind wasn't blowing in your face. Now, everywhere I look there are hills ranging in little elevation gain - 25 feet elevation gain up to 200 feet in rise climbs. The inclines went from ranging 2-4% in grade now to 5% up to 15% grade and I have seen it hit 20 on one of my rides. Is there a comparision to find out where I am at for the year. ie- 50 miles of flats is like 30 miles of constant rollers? Just curious, because I come off these rides tired. When I was riding flats, I knew I had ridden, but I had tons more energy.
 

· imbasilical moreon
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For the past ten years I have ridden in a flat area of the country. I found that it was very easy to go out and ride 50-100 miles with very little effort providing the wind wasn't blowing in your face. Now, everywhere I look there are hills ranging in little elevation gain - 25 feet elevation gain up to 200 feet in rise climbs. The inclines went from ranging 2-4% in grade now to 5% up to 15% grade and I have seen it hit 20 on one of my rides. Is there a comparision to find out where I am at for the year. ie- 50 miles of flats is like 30 miles of constant rollers? Just curious, because I come off these rides tired. When I was riding flats, I knew I had ridden, but I had tons more energy.
try this site for some useful comparison tools .........

Analytic Cycling

Happy Training :thumbsup:
b0nk
 

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Go on time

The time it takes you to ride a given route and the perceived effort should be your guide. You can do calculations, but you need to know the grade and speed. Just for reference, 7.5 mph on a 6% grade is about the same effort as 20 mph on the flats. (150 lb rider). The reason you are more tired after the hilly ride is that 1) you're not used to hills yet and 2) you're pushing harder up the hill than you would push on the flats. Nobody wants to slow down to 7 mph :)
 

· Devoid of all flim-flam
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Another reason hills take more out of you is because you can't just stop pedaling and cruise for a while. You either keep grunting along or you stop and fall over.
 

· NeoRetroGrouch
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Mapei Roida said:
Another reason hills take more out of you is because you can't just stop pedaling and cruise for a while. You either keep grunting along or you stop and fall over.
I don't know about that, there is the downhill part. - TF
 

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You'll get used to them..

I went through the same thing about 16 years ago when we moved from the San Francisco Bay area to the Sierra Nevada Foothills. I read that you use 3 times more energy when climbing hills, but then you have to consider descending. Climbing is demanding and you have to learn to use your gears. I always tackle a hill in a gear lower then what I think I will need and spin, I can always shift to a higher gear. Descending requires some skills in bike handling and you can't ride over your head. I remember when I first moved to my current location and went into my LBS asking them if they had a cassette with lower gears as the hills were killing me (I had a 11-21). They laughed and said they heard the same thing from everyone who had moved here. They said in time I will love the hills, and I do. Time is the key factor. One big thing that helped me was dropping some weight. Just 5 pounds in body weight will make a big difference.
 

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In time you may never want to leave your new found hills... I know I've gotten to be a little addicted to the smallish hills I live amongst, versus the flatlands on the coastal plain. The nearest hill is 284 ft to the summit, which is diddly squat to some, but it has some steep grades, which took a while for me to conquer with a 52/42 - 12-25 setup.

As a stockier rider I'm typically better of with flats or mildly undulating hills. But as an MTBer I got to love hills.

The steep grades can be a real effort to climb, but it can sure make a short ride a lot more intense, especially if it involves hill repeats.

To get the same effect, I'd have to ride for a lot more time, (which can be in short supply most days.) Now I actively seek out climbs for the special buzz they bring, and they make the flats or undulating roads more succulent than ever.

On the other hand, the steep downhills are freaking hairy and I don't much like having my 200# carcass bombing down them at the limit of what my brakes seem to be able to handle.

My guess is in time you will be really happy you now have hills to climb as long as you can get some variety (less steeps), too.
 

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3x?!!

Dinosaur said:
II read that you use 3 times more energy when climbing hills
Uh, I think that would only be true if you were pushing 3X harder. There is nothing inherent about climbing that makes you burn more energy - how much you burn depends on how hard you go. If you're going flat out on level ground, you're putting out "X" watts. If you're going flat out climbing a hill, you're putting out pretty much the same power, and burning pretty much the same calories per hour. You'll go slower up the hill, and how much slower will depend on the grade and how much you weigh.
 

· Steaming piles of opinion
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Yep...

The largely unknown secret of cycling.

Hills aren't harder than flats, they're just slower.

Once that is understood, hills become a joy rather than a fear.
 

· Coco Puff
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danl1 said:
Once that is understood, hills become a joy rather than a fear.
Thinking about how I tend to ride hills on road vs flats. Attacking hills is a fun challenge, and if you know the hill are able to pace and attack as desired. Thinking about the flats tho- It is different, as you hit the point of butting into wind resistance, which forces you aero and is a different riding game than hills.

Climbing steeper grades will also bring you lower over the bike and this tends to cause some lower back fatigue. Standing can take the edge off this pain and also gives a chance to upshift a bit to gather momentum then sit and spin while eventually dropping back a gear or two- then stand and repeat as needed.

I think Kerry Irons had a great point that you tend to work harder on the hills- because you don't want to slow to a crawl. This is a big inducement to putting in the effort and why hills can be tough initially, but we can grow to love them.
 
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